The Untapped Mobile Advertising Opportunity

October 18, 2017

We’re all obsessed with our mobile phones. So obsessed, in fact, that 67% of us check our phone for an incoming call even when it doesn’t vibrate or ring.

We look up to—or rather down at—our mobile devices, to the tune of almost 30,000 times a year.

eMarketer provides another astonishing stat: between 2016 and 2018, people in the UK alone will spend about 3.4% more time with mobile media. Advertising budgets will increase to keep pace—but how much of the mobile opportunity remains untapped? What strategic steps can advertisers take to gain and hold consumer attention?

The Social Mobile Gold Rush

According to Zenith’s 2017 ad spend forecast, new and “innovative” digital ad formats—such as social media, in-feed ads, and video—will drive 14% of annual growth in total display advertising. Paid social display will grow 20% annually from 2016 to 2019.

Does this mean traditional display is booming? Not necessarily.

As we know, Facebook growth has been astronomical—so much so that it’s cutting into and skewing the display advertising growth stats. In particular, Facebook mobile ad spend is exploding, boosting sales way above projections. By many measures, mobile is poised to significantly dominate ad spend in the coming months and years.


Mobile Search is Thriving, Too

Statista’s 2017 Digital Advertising report projects that digital advertising will generate $10.5 billion US by 2021, with $7.4 billion of that in search in 2017.

As far as traffic goes, Facebook and Google are riding side by side.


And, it looks like the dynamic Google-Facebook duo won’t be exiting the advertising superhighway any time soon.

How Attribution Contributes to Mobile

As an advertiser, you’re most likely managing or executing any number of efforts to get people to click and convert, including:

  • Finding ways to attract new and existing customers to your site
  • Running paid search campaigns
  • Optimizing your organic search
  • Identifying the sweet spots in your email initiatives
  • Honing your social efforts with dynamic ads, lead gen ads, etc.

An increasing number of advertisers understand that most social clicks happen on mobile, whereas most conversions still occur on desktop. What they’re still tackling is accurate measurement of campaign outcomes using a multi-touch attribution model. This is another largely untapped source of campaign insights, one that can make the difference between smart budget allocations and wasted marketing spend.

An Action Plan for Mobile Advertising Success

Advertisers should take these three steps to ensure profitable mobile results.

Step #1: Increase your mobile advertising spend.

This may seem like a no-brainer. But, with overall mobile budgets increasing across industries, advertisers who don’t follow suit will be out-maneuvered and left behind.

Step #2: Unify your paid search and social programs.

The benefits of a combined search and social strategy are substantial and the mandate is clear: marketers who unify their programs and focus on the journey rather than the channel deliver incremental ROI. For comprehensive tips and tactics, download our guide, Google + Facebook: A Playbook for Cross-Channel Advertising Success.

Step #3: Implement multi-touch attribution.

To use another driving metaphor—you probably wouldn’t get behind the wheel blindfolded and expect to successfully reach your destination. Knowing how all of your marketing efforts contribute to a conversion is vital to attaining your goals and objectives.

This is where Marin TruePath comes in—our lightweight, cross-device, cross-channel measurement solution. TruePath delivers user journey reports that properly attribute revenue to all touchpoints—including search, social, display, organic traffic, and more. To learn about TruePath, contact us today.


No matter what your next steps are, one thing is certain—mobile usage is increasing and will continue to grow at breakneck speed. Analyze what you’re currently doing, see where you can discover growth, and plan ahead for the inevitability of not only “mobile-first,” but “mobile-immersed” users.

Maria Breaux

Marin Software
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